DisneyanaMania Convention: Coming Up and Looking Back.
This week, the Disneyana Fan Club will once again be holding its annual DisneyanaMania Convention.
Always a good choice for the Disney fan interested in learning more about the history and doings of the various facets of the company without the stress of some of the bigger conventions, DisneyanaMania is traditionally held over the weekend of Disneyland's anniversary, and includes two days of talks, various Disney celebrity-studded meals, and the Disneyana Collectible Expo.
Last year's convention covered a wide range of topics: Artist Dave Avenzino started it off with a presentation on how he develops and executes his popular line of dimensional, custom-made paper art.
Next up, Disney Legend Marty Sklar gave a talk similar to a few others he gave last year on the creation of his recent book "Dream it! Do it!" and the lessons he learned from his years with the Disney Company.
The traditional "Disneyana Fan Club Luncheon with a Disney Legend" is always a highlight each year for the sheer density of Disney luminaries that attend.
The award ceremonies began with a recognition of Tony Baxter's 47 years with Disney, "Making Magic."
The two present inductees into the Disneyana Legends roster for 2013 were Howard E. Green, VP of Communications for Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Bruce Reitherman, accepting for both himself and his father Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman.
Howard E. Green has been involved with publicizing Disney projects for 36 years, and has helped launch EPCOT Center, coordinated Mickey Mouse's 50th Birthday cross-country tour, and written decades-worth of press releases and related copy for Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios.
Bruce Reitherman has been an actor, cinematographer, director, writer, and producer for various documentaries, but is famously known in Disney circles as having been the voice of both Mowgli in "The Jungle Book," and Christopher Robin in "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree."
His father, Wolfgang Reitherman, was one of Walt's famous Nine Old Men of animation, working on most of the classic animated features (giving life to action sequences such as the fight between Prince Philip and Maleficent in "Sleeping Beauty,") and directing "The Sword in the Stone," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," and "Robin Hood."
After lunch, Chris Ellis, an Orlando Cast Member with one of the largest vintage pin collections around, showed attendees a variety of historical pins and detailed some of his research in obtaining, categorizing, and evaluating them.
The final panel for the day was made up of Dusty Sage and Jeff Heimbuch from MiceChat, and Mousetalgia podcasters Dave, Kristen, and Jeff. They spoke on the state of present-day Disney fandom, and how their groups have interacted and worked with the Disney Company.
The next day was supposed to include a presentation with "Dog with a Blog," but there was a last-minute substitution with past Head Archivist Dave Smith who took questions from the audience.
Jeff Heimbuch returned for his talk on "The Five-Legged Goat," which is a term he's coined for various features with hidden back-stories that inhabit the various Disney parks and resorts.
Don Ballard, author of two books on the Disneyland Hotel, then spoke on some additional archival material he had recently found in one of Jack Wrather's (original owner of the Disneyland Hotel) storage vaults.
He showed a large variety of old photos and home film footage documenting the early history of the Disneyland Hotel and its famous and not-so-famous guests.
Eventually, of course, the need for capacity and the changing environment caused the gradual metamorphosis of the small but sophisticated structure into the larger buildings we have today.
Author Sam Gennawey spoke on the ill-fated "Mineral King" project that Walt had planned for the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and detailed the history of opposition to it that led to its ultimate cancellation.
Finally, the convention's last panel ended on a highlight as Disney Legend and past Imagineer Rolly Crump reminisced about his time with the company and his interactions with Walt Disney.
He showed a good deal of his early artwork, and told anecdotes about his contributions to such famous and classic attractions as the Tiki Room and The Haunted Mansion.
Arguably his most famous creation was the Tower of the Four Winds he designed for the it's a small world pavilion at the 1964-65 World's Fair. Ironically, he wasn't particularly impressed with it after it was constructed, feeling it appeared less delicate in reality than it did in his concept.
That evening saw the Disneyana Celebration Banquet which was commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the film Peter Pan and had as its special guest, Margaret Kerry, the original model for Tinker Bell.
This year's DisneyanaMania Convention will take place July 16-July 20 at the Wyndham Anaheim Hotel in Garden Grove, and promises to be just as history-filled and exuberant in its celebration of Disney fandom as last year. If you are in the area and have an interest in learning more about Disney and the art and fandom it inspires (or even just in shopping the large group sale on the last day,) I encourage you to check it out. Tickets will be available at the door, and this year's schedule is available at http://www.disneyanafanclub.org/DisneyanaMania